If you think about the word “entrepreneur,” what image springs to mind? Maybe you thought of the actor who played Marc Zuckerberg in the film, “The Social Network”. Or, perhaps you imagined Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or another young technology genius, who started a technology empire from his or her basement. You probably didn’t think of a retired 57-year old tax consultant from St. Louis. If so, your instinct was way off.
According to several studies, including In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship by the Kaufmann Foundation, being an older entrepreneur is now the norm. They conclude that Americans, aged 55-64, start business at a higher rate than people in their 20s or 30s.
Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking that your fellow boomers are probably opening Subway franchises or doing a bit of consulting. “Real” entrepreneurs are in tech. Well, you may be surprised to hear that, according to the same report, there are more new tech founders over age 50 than under age 30.
As a tech founder in my 60s, I’ve been amazed by the total lack of coverage of baby boomer founded businesses. It’s almost as if the entire tech space has a blind spot for older entrepreneurs. This is one of the reasons that I wrote so many articles on how to make money in retirement.
Financial security is so important to getting the most from life after 60 that I think it’s important to challenge the stereotypes about entrepreneurship head-on. If more boomers believe that starting a business is “normal,” we will have a better chance of achieving our dreams and changing the world.
We need to do a better job, as baby boomers, of showcasing each other’s work and celebrating our successes. We certainly can’t rely on anyone else to do it for us!
Have you started a business after 60? What was your experience? Why do you think it is that older entrepreneurs seem to get less press coverage than their younger counterparts? Are we not pushy enough? Or is there something else going on? Please join the discussion.